THOMAS F. HARRISON, Chairman
Karl J. Wagener, Executive Director
Established - 1971
Statutory authority - CGS 22a-11
Central office - 79 Elm Street,
Hartford, CT 06106
Number of employees - One
Organizational structure – Nine-member appointed council
The Council on Environmental Quality's three main functions are to prepare and submit to the Governor an annual report on the status of Connecticut's environment; to review construction projects of state agencies; and to receive and investigate citizen complaints. It also has specific responsibilities under the Connecticut Environmental Policy Act, or CEPA (Conn. Gen. Statutes Sec. 22a-1 through 22a-1h). The Council is within the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for administrative purposes only. Members of the nine-person Council are appointed by the Governor (5), Speaker of the House (2) and President Pro Tempore of the Senate (2). Members serve without compensation.
The Council submitted its annual report on the condition of Connecticut’s environment to Governor M. Jodi Rell in June 2006. To help the public make sense of the potentially confusing and conflicting technical data on environmental trends, the Council continued to use its format of straightforward environmental indicators that clearly chart the state’s progress. The report also assessed the overall effect of these environmental trends, and highlighted the natural resources that require more attention from state government. The report was distributed to state legislators and agency heads, municipalities, libraries, colleges and universities, and many other organizations.
In addition to its annual report, the Council publishes interim reports that investigate current environmental topics of statewide concern. “Preserved But Not Protected,” published in December 2005, led to the adoption of legislation in 2006 that will improve protection of state, municipal, and nonprofit preserved lands from encroachment and abuse. All reports are published on the Council's portal website. Citizens can receive e-mail notices of public meetings and publications by signing up for free e-alerts through the website.
Since October 2002, the Council has published the Environmental Monitor, an online publication that replaced the Connecticut Law Journal as the official publication for CEPA notices. All state agencies post their required environmental notices on the Monitor website. The Monitor is distributed to all municipal clerks as well as any citizen who subscribes to e-alerts through the website. This electronic publication saves considerable sums, by eliminating printing and mailing costs and even the staff time that would be needed to manage a mailing list of a traditional print periodical.
The Council continued its practice of holding public forums in different areas of the state, including Torrington in September 2005 and Simsbury in February 2006. Citizens and local officials spoke at these forums about their views on state environmental policies and programs. The public is also welcome to attend the Council’s monthly meetings.
Individual citizens, municipalities, and organizations brought numerous problems to the Council’s attention, and the Council investigated and helped to resolve cases involving encroachments on preserved lands, environmental review of surplus state lands, enforcement of inland wetlands laws, drying up of rivers, and many other problems.
The Council is required to submit an annual report to the Governor on the status of Connecticut's environment. The report is available on the Council’s website (www.ct.gov/ceq).